For those who don’t know the Joytech control centre 540C is a component, composite, s-video and Ethernet hub which is designed to work with and look like the Xbox 360. The device can split one s-video or component input into 4 component inputs or 5 s-video/composite inputs with optical audio output or just analogue audio as well as a dedicated cable to go to the Xbox 360.
When I first opened control centre I connected it using the supplied cables. I connected the special cable from the control centre to the 360 then the supplied component cable from the control centre to the TV. The picture quality using this method was absolutely awful – it suffered from large amounts of ghosting and looked very washed out. After this disappointing start I decided to try another method of connecting the 360. This time I used a component lead going from my 360 to the control centre without using the special loop cable provided. This gave a great improvement to the picture but there was still some slight ghosting which was very noticeable on the 360 dashboard. My final solution to this problem was to go out and buy a good quality component lead. For this I used a Belkin lead which cost about £25. This ironed out all of the ghosting and the picture quality looked very good. The colours were slightly duller than when connecting it straight from the 360 to the television but some minor tweaks in the menu on the TV sorted this out. The audio quality from both optical and analogue audio is spot on. No noticeable differences there at all.
The front of the unit has a hidden panel which unveils an s-video and composite connection. This comes in useful if you want to connect something such as an iPod video or a camcorder. There is also an LCD display on the front which says the input number and the name of what you’re plugging into it. The name can be changed by lifting off the front panel of the control centre and cycling through a menu. In this menu you can also choose if you want the specific output to be s-video/composite or component.The 5 port Ethernet hub works extremely well. When connected to my d-link router it worked flawlessly and has lights on every port which can help when troubleshooting any problems you may incur.Like the 360 itself, the control centre can sit horizontal or vertical. A nice addition by Joytech is the fact that the display also changes depending on if you have the 360 horizontal or vertical and it does so automatically. This makes it so the input name is still readable no matter which way you want to have the control centre.The general build quality of the control centre is excellent and it looks very good sitting beside, underneath or on top of your 360 (I would not recommend putting it on top however due to where the 360 ventilation holes are positioned). It comes with a remote with 5 simple buttons to select your inputs. The remote is small but feels sturdy and works very well indeed.To conclude, the Joytech 540c is a nice piece of equipment if you have a use for it. As most televisions only come with one component input it can come in handy especially if you want to connect your DVD player, PS2, Wii, camcorder, iPod or other equipment. The most bothersome aspect of the unit is the fact that the loop cable may as well not be there and the supplied cables simply aren’t good enough.
The unit now retails at around £60 at some online stores which is a much more attractive price tag than the £90 RRP. Bearing in mind you will need to buy some decent component cables for this it will end up costing around £85 in total. So is it worth it? In my opinion it is. Taking cables in and out of the back of a television can be very annoying and doing so too much can even damage your TV set. The Joytech 540c takes the hassle out of doing this and you don’t even have to leave your chair – good stuff.